Applications to the Physics PhD and Physical Biology PhD programs are now open.
Apply Today! Deadline is 12/31/2023.


For undergraduate students, we offer majors in PhysicsAstronomyBiophysics, and a joint Physics/Computer Science program. We also offer minors in Physics and Astronomy.

graduate students gathered outside for a social event


For graduate students, we offer a Ph.D. in Physics. If you are a prospective graduate student, please take a look at the Ph.D. section for all the information on application to our Ph.D. program.


Physics and Astronomy are both going through revolutionary times mirrored by the research programs in the department, which range from theory of High Energy PhysicsCondensed Matter Physics, to Cosmology. Large Scale Computation is an important field with several state-of-the-art facilities available to students and faculty. Emerging areas of research in our department include the rapidly developing fields of Quantum Information Science and Physical Biology. Biological Physics is where the quantitative skills of physicists address important problems coming from biological systems.

Fall 2023 Colloquium Series

Operating Quantum Processors in Challenging Environments

Please join us as we welcome Britton Plourde from the Department of Physics Syracuse University on Monday, December 4, 2023 at 4:15 pm in SSL 202.

Refreshments will be served at 4:00 pm.

(Zoom link is provided to @USC subscribers only).


If we can improve our predictions concerning changes in the number of sunspots and the activity of the solar cycle, then we may be able to improve our knowledge of space weather and determine what is likely to cause major problems on Earth and what isn’t.

Edward Rhodes, Professor of Astronomy

Your Major & Minor

The Department of Physics & Astronomy offers majors and minors in five different subject areas. It also offers several different levels of introductory courses for students with majors in other departments.

Featured Faculty




Peter Foster

Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy

I work on the physics of living systems, with a focus on the cytoskeleton — the cellular machines that drive processes ranging from motility to cell division. I’m interested in understanding how the properties of cytoskeletal materials emerge from the interactions between the materials’ protein constituents and the flows of energy through the system.

What are your hobbies? When I can, I love to get outdoors! I’ve really been enjoying exploring the hiking trails near L.A.

Read any good books lately? I’m currently reading Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Sean B. Carroll.

What food or condiments will we always find in your kitchen? I’ll always have a soft spot for Cabot cheddar.


Kelly Luo

Gabilan Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy

My lab is passionate about understanding interactions between the quantum degrees of freedom in solid-state systems such as electron spins, photons and magnons. We investigate their couplings, propagations and nonequilibrium dynamics, and explore new device concepts for spin-based quantum information processing.

If you could invite one person to dinner, living or dead, who would you select? What would be on the menu? Marie Curie; anything.

If time-travel was possible, what era would you head to and why? 50 years from now. Maybe we will have another quantum revolution by then?

What food or condiments will we always find in your kitchen? Sichuan peppercorns, both the green and the red kinds.

Kris Pardo

Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy

My work focuses on how we can use astrophysical data to better understand our universe. Specifically, I’m interested in how we can use this data to observe gravitational waves, which are ripples in space-time produced by the mergers of black holes, and to test theories for dark matter, which is a mysterious type of particle(s) that makes up most of the matter in our universe.

What are your hobbies? I try to get outdoors (and away from screens!) as much as possible when not working. I like hiking with my Australian shepherd puppy, trail running and rock climbing.

Read any good books lately? I recently read and really enjoyed Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (although it has absolutely nothing to do with actual dark matter, sadly).

Contact Us

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Vahe Peroomian

Director of Graduate Studies

James Boedicker